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How Financial Brands Can Create Their First “1,000 True Fans”

Written by Banks Editorial Team

Updated December 12, 2022​

4 min. read​

The “1,000 true fans” concept popularized by marketing guru Kevin Kelly has been avidly adopted by many artists and creators around the world. While the concept’s appeal to creative types is clear, there is no reason the idea can’t benefit financial brands as well.

With the right type of content marketing, there’s no reason your financial brand can’t create your first 1,000 true fans and reap the benefits generated by winning the loyalty of your most dedicated customers.

Profiting from the Long Tail

The genesis of Kelly’s “1,000 true fans” concept came from his analysis of the long tail phenomenon, whereby Amazon and other internet retailers found that purchases of lower selling items, combined, came close to equaling sales of big-selling items. This made it lucrative for these retailers, and search providers, to make it as easy as possible for people to search for and buy from less well-known suppliers.

At the same time, Kelly realized that for creative types, the internet now provided the ability to reach out to a small but significant group of fans and to monetize such efforts in ways that weren’t possible prior to the advent of the internet.

By selling their services to a relatively small number of dedicated fans, creators could earn a decent living without exhausting themselves by trying to create a bestseller or a platinum album – tasks that have become increasingly difficult in this era of increasing consumer fragmentation.

For a financial brand, Kelly’s concept can be used to increase a financial institution’s ability to appeal to customers who are most likely to use its services and recommend those services to others. Your true fans will act as cheerleaders for your brand, promoting to their networks and, thus, helping you to grow and find new customers.

Attracting a core audience of true fans of your financial brand can also help optimize your ability to test new products by providing a group of early adopters who are also likely to provide valuable feedback.

How Can Financial Institutions Attract 1,000 True Fans?

A key part of the process is reaching out to and keeping in touch with your most devoted customers. This can be accomplished via social media, content, and email. These newer means of consumer outreach have not always been used to best effect by financial institutions. However, if your financial firm hopes to connect with and maintain 1,000 true fans, proactive use of these platforms is essential.

The following are four tips for helping create and retain 1,000 true fans of your bank or fintech app.

Tip #1: Review and Revitalize Your Content Approach

If your primary digital marketing content strategy consists of looking for and ranking for high-traffic keywords, you may want to reconsider your approach. While keywords are important, merely looking for high-traffic keywords is not necessarily the best approach. Rather than looking just at volume, consider the purchase (or conversion) intent of the phrases you select.

One way to do this is to look for keyword phrases that get at high motivation consumer behavior, otherwise known as pain points.

The highest-converting keywords may not, in fact, be those with the highest volume. Focusing on the keywords and phrases that have the greatest chance of converting helps connect you with the consumers who are most likely to become true fans of your financial brand.

Thus, it’s important to research keywords by conversion percentage as well as by volume. This extends to A/B testing, where focusing on the keywords that convert best is more important than simply measuring the traffic they generate.

Tip #2: Create a Community for Your Most Loyal Fans

How do you incentivize your true fans to stick around once they find that your brand has a solution to their most pressing financial needs, whether that be online banking, rewards-based credit cards, flexible home equity loans, etc.?

The answer is to build a community that the consumers who benefit most from your products can join.

Whether that community consists of a Facebook group for buyers of certain products, or customer groups who garner special benefits, the idea is to give your true fans recognition for their support of your brand. Starting up an email list is another way of letting your true fans feel that they are part of a community centered on your brand.

Offering exclusive content to people on your email list can be one good way to reward your true fans. You can also offer them special deals, early bird opportunities, and other benefits to cement their loyalty. 

Tip #3: Retain Your True Fans

Once you’ve created your 1,000 true fans, it is vital to retain them. The reason for this is clear: it costs much more to attract new customers than it does to retain existing ones.

This means that you must continue to engage with your true fans once you find them by providing them with content and offering them extra benefits when appropriate. Essentially, the idea is to look for new ways to provide them with value and keep them engaged.

One way to do this is to target your products towards existing customers. To do this, find out what your best customers are looking for in terms of new products. By providing these customers with further opportunities to interact with your bank, you can add value and further cement their loyalty to your bank.

Tip #4: Reach Out to Your True Fans for Feedback

If your interaction with your best customers is a one-way process, it damages your chances of retaining their loyalty in the long run. Rather than peppering your email list with constant sales pitches, mix it up and solicit their opinions on the products and services your financial institution offers.

You can send them surveys to complete as a way to get detailed feedback as to what they like and don’t like about your business. Another way to interact with your best customers is through social media. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn offer opportunities to gather feedback directly from your customers as to what they would like to see from your bank. Getting feedback early in the process is crucial to successfully build a community that will attract your true fans.

If you have an email list, you can segment it by most active members. You can then go to that group for feedback on what they would like to see your business do.

Adding bonuses or gifts for providing feedback or completing a survey can be a good way to maximize participation.

The Benefits of Finding Your True Fans

A big benefit of identifying your true fans is that they can serve as a testbed for new products. Prior to launching a new product, run it by this group to gauge their reaction. If it doesn’t play well with them, there’s a good chance it won’t be successful with the broader group of consumers either.

Additionally, these fans, especially in the internet age, can serve as brand ambassadors, magnifying your marketing efforts by helping spread the word about the good things your financial institution does.

Finally, the feedback these fans offer can help you optimize all areas of your business, whether that be your service operations, communications, or product development efforts.

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